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Shooting of teen is ruled justified

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Date published: 12/15/2012


The fatal shooting of a Fauquier County teenager who was gunned down by two Stafford deputies in his home last month was a justifiable homicide, authorities said Friday.

Evan Newsom, 17, was killed at his home in the 12000 block of Tacketts Mill Road in Fauquier right on the Stafford line. Deputies from both jurisdictions went there early Nov. 2 in response to an abandoned car and an assault.

A joint statement issued Friday by Stafford Commonwealth's Attorney Eric Olsen and Fauquier Commonwealth's Attorney James Fisher indicates that Newsom committed what could be described as "suicide by police."

The prosecutors wrote that an intoxicated Newsom set the fatal chain of events into motion when he attacked a Stafford deputy with a knife, cutting his sleeve and his arm. That deputy and another Stafford deputy responded to the "clear, direct and imminent attempt to kill or do grave bodily harm" by opening fire.

Prior to that, according to the statement, Newsom had assaulted his mother and a neighbor. He also brandished a knife and made statements such as "it's over," "I'm not going to jail," "just shoot me" and "I'm not going down like that," according to the report.

He also had exhibited "self-injuring" behavior and had told his mother that he would never return to the Department of Juvenile Justice and "they would have to kill me," the report said.

"The facts strongly suggest that the subject had a clear prior intent to have a fatal encounter with the police and that he acted in conformity with that state of mind," the prosecutors concluded.

Newsom's mother, Angela Newsom, said Friday that she was not yet prepared to respond to the results of the seven-week investigation. But she has previously made it clear that she does not believe the shooting was justified.

In a letter sent to The Free Lance-Star last month, Newsom disputed claims that her son attacked a deputy and said there was no good reason for police to go into the home to confront her son, who she said was posing no threat at the time.

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